A COMPANY linked to low-profile investor Denis Jen, who owns shopping malls in Australia, is buying 158 Cecil Street for S$240 million from a fund managed by Alpha Investment Partners, the fund management arm of Keppel Land.
The price works out to about S$2,100 per square foot based on the 14-storey building's net lettable area of around 115,000 sq ft. 158 Cecil Street is on a site with a balance lease term of around 65 years.
Formerly known as The Spazio and Dapenso Building, the property underwent a major revamp several years ago.
Alpha acquired the property for S$235.5 million in 2007 from KOP Properties, which agreed to complete a major refurbishment before delivering the property in 2009 to Alpha, which positioned the asset as a green building.
158 Cecil Street has bagged a number of accolades, including the top prize at the 2011 Skyrise Greenery Awards, organised by the Singapore Institute of Architects and the National Parks Board.
Late last month, a company controlled by Mr Jen was granted an option to buy the property at S$240 million. According to information listed by Forbes in the past, Mr Jen is a China-born orphan who studied law in Shanghai. He made his first fortune in textiles in Taiwan and Hong Kong and relocated to Singapore, then Australia, where he bought and sold businesses and built a small real estate empire of five shopping malls.
His businesses include Jen Retail Properties, the website for which states that it is a privately owned family company established as Intro International Limited in 1991 in Brisbane. Mr Jen is a Singapore citizen.
Prior to the option to purchase 158 Cecil Street was granted to a Singapore-incorporated vehicle of Mr Jen, several other parties seriously looked at potentially acquiring the asset.
Tenants of 158 Cecil Street include Facebook, which will soon move out to South Beach Tower but which market watchers suggest may retain some space at its existing premises, Bank of India and Zurich Insurance. Airbnb signed up as a tenant recently.
Another recent office sale transaction is the S$31.63 million sale of 10 strata office units on the 26th level of GSH Plaza in Raffles Place. This works out to S$3,055 psf based on the strata area of 10,355 sq ft. GSH Plaza is on a site with a balance lease term of 73 years. The buyer is a Singapore-incorporated company whose sole shareholder is a Chinese citizen based in Hong Kong.
Earlier in June, a company controlled by a Singapore permanent resident paid S$4.75 million or S$3,503 psf for a 1,356 sq ft unit on GSH Plaza's 17th level.
In both transactions, the seller was Plaza Ventures Pte Ltd, a consortium led by GSH Corporation that last year paid S$550 million for the 28-storey building, which was known as Equity Plaza at the time. The consortium is undertaking an extensive refurbishment exercise estimated to cost S$118 million or S$400 psf based on the 295,000 sq ft gross saleable area.
Besides GSH, which controls 51 per cent of the consortium, Plaza Ventures' other shareholders are TYJ Group, a private investment vehicle of GSH chairman Sam Goi (with a 14 per cent stake) and Vibrant DB2 (35 per cent stake). Vibrant DB2 is a 51:49 partnership between listed Vibrant Group and niche property developer DB2.
Source: Business Times, 21 Jul 2015